Your book is called The Snow White Effect. Can you tell me about it and what inspired the story?
My sister was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in 2013 after having a laparoscopic hysterectomy. We learned shortly after her diagnosis that her cancer had been made worse by the tool used in her procedure. As a writer, I wanted to help tell her story to prevent it from happening to more women. It’s a love story wrapped in a medical drama. Being told through four different vantage points allows the reader to see the story from more than one angle.
What elements do you think make a good novel?
Twists. In every story I write, I try to have at least one twist the reader didn’t see coming.
Can you talk me through your writing process from idea to editing to pitch.
All of my writing starts with one main idea. I have a basic idea of where I would like to see the story go, but I never hold myself to any one path. Instead, I allow for the characters to develop and tell their stories through me. I am blessed to have a supportive family. My mom and sister always read the first version of my manuscript and offer their brutally honest opinions. From there, I make changes and edits. At that point I usually walk away from it for about to weeks. After a couple of weeks, I come back to it and re-read it. If I’m happy with it, I’ll send it to my editor. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a great editor who challenges my writing and thought process at every level. The editing process with her takes about two months, after which I know my book is ready. The pitching process is my least favorite because I don’t like to talk about myself. But I believe in my writing, which helps me pitch my stories.
What is your typical writing day like? Do you have any rituals like lots of coffee or writing in silence?
Tea and music. I love tea. I am a big tea drinker. So when I start writing, I always have a steaming fresh cup next to my computer. I’d like to say I have a writing ritual, but with young children I write when I can. Most of my writing is done at night when everyone is asleep. I tend to become an insomniac when I am in the middle of a story. Music is also important for me because it helps me feel the mood I am writing. By the time my manuscript is complete, I have a playlist to go along with it.
What is your favourite word and why?
Hope. Life is full of lows and high. Hope bridges the gap between the two. It gets us through the lows so we can attain the highs.
What are you working on at the moment?
My next manuscript. It’s been in the works for a while and I’m looking forward to completing it. It’s a family saga about sisters.
Do you have any advice for anyone experiencing writers block?
Work on something else. It doesn’t even have to be a book. I’m currently learning how to sew, and I’ve found that walking away and focusing my creativity on sewing helps clear my block. If all else fails, I go for a run. Running always clears my mind.
What has been the best thing about the writing experience and what has been the most difficult?
The best thing for me has been accomplishing my dream of writing stories. The icing on the cake has been the great feedback I’ve received from my readers. The most difficult part has been resilience. Getting one hundred no’s makes it harder to continue looking for the one yes.
What authors have influenced you?
Growing up, I loved reading the mysteries of Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene. Shel Silverstein’s writing has always been a favorite of mine. I especially appreciate the uniqueness of his writing. In term’s of writing advice, I’d have to say that Stephen King’s On Writing was the best book about writing that I’ve read.
What advice for someone thinking of writing a book?
Write it. Don’t worry about what people will think or say. If there’s a story in your heart, tell it.
About A. K. Mills:
The Snow White Effect was released by Dark Wolf Publications on 27th March 2018. Click to view on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Snow-White-Effect-K-Mills